Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis)


French: Tétras du Canada German: Tannenhuhn Spanish: Gallo canadiense
Other common names: Taiga Grouse

Tetrao canadensis


, 1758,

Hudson Bay


Hitherto treated as conspecific with F. franklinii, and these two previously awarded genus CanachitesF. franklinii differs in all-dark vs broad orange-buff tips of rectrices (3); bold white (vs all-dark) tips of elongate uppertail-coverts (3); thin broken vs strong continuous white line across breast (1); broader rectrices (effect size based on published data#R 1.67; score 1); possession of wing-clap territorial display vs none#R (3); moreover, long zone of hybridization occurs at boundary, where two taxa inhabit different habitat (franklinii in montane conifers, canadensis in taiga#R) (2). Race osgoodi often included in nominate, and torridus in canace#R or nominate#R. Five subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • F. c. osgoodi (Bishop, 1900) – Alaska (Yukon and Kowak Valleys) and NW Canada E to Great Slave L and L Athabaska.
  • F. c. atratus (Grinnell, 1910) – S Alaska (Bristol Bay to Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound) and Kodiak I.
  • F. c. canadensis (Linnaeus, 1758) – S Canada from C Alberta E to Labrador Peninsula.
  • F. c. canace (Linnaeus, 1766) – SE Canada (S Manitoba to New Brunswick) and NE USA (N Minnesota to E Maine).
  • F. c. torridus Uttal, 1939 – Nova Scotia.
  • Introduced (canadensis) to Newfoundland and Anticosti I.

    Descriptive notes

    38–43 cm; male 460–650 g, female 430–550 g. Dark, rather short-tailed, relatively small grouse, mainly grey above and black below, with white... read more


    Considered to be one of the quietest Tetraoninae, but ten distinct calls have been described... read more


    Distribution largely coincides with boreal coniferous forest; linked mainly with pine (... read more

    Food and feeding

    During winter, mainly pine or spruce needles or both, constituting up to 100%. Summer and autumn food of adults is mostly growing... read more


    Lays mostly in Jun, but starts in late May; can vary by up to two weeks in same region between years, typically starting c. 2·5... read more


    Largely sedentary, with winter home-range size less than 0·1 km². In Alaska, mean... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and still fairly common throughout most of range, although locally it is included on the Red lists of several states in... read more

    Recommended citation

    de Juana, E., Kirwan, G.M. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 12 December 2019).